How To Setup & Use A WordPress Child Theme

WordPress Child Themes

Using WordPress Child Themes when developing your own website theme

This is an incredibly thorough article on designing your own WordPress child theme. I have long been a proponent of using child themes, mostly because early on I started using Genesis for many of my WordPress websites.

What is a WordPress Child Theme?

A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of a parent theme. It is a separate theme, that allows you to modify the parent theme without having to modify any of the parent theme’s files.

Why should I use a WordPress Child Theme?

Child themes are particularly useful if you want to customize a non-custom theme that has updates. With a child theme, you can update the parent theme without losing the custom changes you have made to it. It can also make development more efficient, because your child theme will only contain the files from the parent theme that you’ve actually made changes to. This makes it a lot easier to find your past changes to make additional changes in the future. Continue…

The science behind UX: eyetracking

eyetracking visualizes how our eyes view information

Eyetracking can produce heat maps to visualize how we view content. Source: Nielson Norman Group; www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/

Design is not just an art, there is hard science behind it. Googling the term UX comes up with the following definition: “User Experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.” The science behind design and UX can be studied using eyetracking devices to help scientists better understand how we view and consume content online.

Did you know that there is an eyetracking lab at Clemson? I didn’t until a few weeks ago when I met with Dr. Andrew Duchowski, Clemson Computer Science professor and eyetracking expert. Continue…

Studying other coding workflows

learn about coding workflow

The most appealing thing about web development is the open community

Beginning this past summer when I attended #frontendconf with some @ClemsonGC web students, I started to become very curious about other coding workflows. There are so many “right” ways to get the same general result in coding that I began to wonder how much difference there was between my way and other coders “right” ways.

When I was speaking on stage at #frontendconf with Alex Horne, one of the questions an audience member raised at the end of our presentation was how much time am I actually getting to spend coding. It’s a very legitimate question, especially considering the variety of subjects I teach in GC3400 and the amount of time spent in the lab each week. There really isn’t a ton of time to work on my own web coding projects during the semesters. That’s part of the reason I try to tackle personal projects during the summer and winter breaks.

My response to the question was: Continue…

Why not Dreamweaver?

To Dreamweaver or not to Dreamweaver, that is the question

To Dreamweaver or not to Dreamweaver, that is the question

Having attended several conferences this past summer, I wanted to write a post to answer one of the questions I hear not only from students, but also from web development teachers as well. So often when I am giving a presentation on teaching web development, I get asked “Why shouldn’t we use Dreamweaver?”

It is a very legitimate question, especially as more and more schools are getting Creative Cloud licensing for their faculty and students. So, if all your students already have Dreamweaver installed and they are used to how Adobe lays out their workspace, why wouldn’t I recommend Dreamweaver as the best way to teach coding? Let’s start with the simplest and in my opinion most important answer:

I can’t name a single developer using Dreamweaver to code!

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#frontendconf: a summer 2014 adventure

ClemsonGC students attend FrontEndConf in Florida, Summer 2014

ClemsonGC students attend FrontEndConf in Florida, Summer 2014

This summer, I traveled with 4 @ClemsonGC students down to St. Petersburg, Florida for Front End Design Conference. #FrontEndConf is a unique and special event for front end web developers. Hosted by the amazing Denney family, this is one of my favorite conferences to attend with students each year.

One of the best parts of the event is that everyone is made to feel welcome from beginning coders and students up through the expert speakers, many of whom are the leaders pushing the web development industry forward day in and day out. There are plenty of opportunities to learn both in a large setting and one-on-one with a coder you just met who just happens to know javascript (or databases, or animations, or teaching) better than you do.

This was my second time attending #frontendconf with students. Last year I brought down two students for the event and we met up with a previous graduate of the program as well. This year, 4 students who have taken the intermediate web class (GC4510-Web) were chosen to attend- Alex Horne, Katherine Redmond, Mason Mccaskill, and Weatherly White. We were again joined by a previous Clemson GC student, Josh Boland, who after graduation began working on Clemson’s web properties with the Creative Services team. Continue…

Typography is not just pretty fonts

Web typography is not just pretty fonts

Web typography is not just pretty fonts

A student found passed this article along to me and I think it is a fantastic article dealing with typography on the web. For years web designers were stuck with minimal choices for fonts in order to ensure display compatibility for many end users. Then along came font squirrel and google fonts and now web designers can rejoice in the freedom of their non-web designer counterparts!

But this article hits on some really important points that should be considered by all designers including both print and web. We can’t just fall in love with a font and use it under any circumstances. Typography is an art and as such, thought and deep consideration should be involved when choosing the best font for a specific job.

Simply put, typography is the art and technique of arranging type. It encompasses every possible element that can affect web design, including choice of typeface, color palette, line length, point size, layout, and design integration.”

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Chrome DevTools for Mobile

This is a great article exploring the newer features of Chrome DevTools and how they interact with mobile development. The video is short and sweet and you can see how big of a jump these tools now are in debugging and testing mobile websites.

Developing for mobile should be just as easy as it is developing for desktop. We’ve been working hard in the Chrome DevTools to make things easier for you and it’s time to unveil some new features that should dramatically improve your mobile web development. First up, remote debugging and then we’ll unveil proper mobile emulation.
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Absolute vs relative positioning

The question always comes up at some point: which positioning should I use to get the site to look the way I want it to. Would absolute vs relative positioning create the layout and effect I am aiming for? I think this article and demo are really a clear and to the point. What do you think?

5 Different Position Values

Let’s get some complexity out of the way up front. In reality, there are a whopping five different possible values for the position property. We’ll largely skip over inherit because it’s pretty self explanatory (simply inherits the value of its parent) and isn’t really supported well in older versions of IE.

The default position value for any element on the page is static. Any element with a staticpositioning context will simply fall where you expect it to in the flow of the document. This of course entirely depends on the structure of your HTML. Continue…